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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The authors have read and followed the code of conduct and the author guidelines.
  • The authors have filled out and submitted the author declaration form (available at Downloads).
  • The article includes a short lead text (research papers 250 characters including spaces, articles for Forum 600 characters including spaces and articles for Books 460 characters including spaces).
  • The article is original, has not been published in any other peer-reviewed journal, is not under consideration for publication by any other journal and does not infringe any existing copyright or any other third party rights.
  • The text is in Microsoft Word (.docx). It does not exceed the maximum length (Forum: 24,000 characters; Research: 32,000 characters; Review Papers: 40,000 characters, Design Reports: 25,000 characters, all indluding references, including spaces).
  • The authors are responsible for the linguistic quality. If written in a language foreign to the authors, the article has been corrected by a native expert or a professional editing service. The authors are aware that extensive language editing done by the editorial office may be charged to them.
  • A selection of suitable pictures/illustrations and/or tables is included. Figures, photographs, and tables are numbered and provide a short explanatory caption, which can be understood independent of the text. Figures and tables are integrated into the text document.
  • Additionally, all figures, photographs, and tables are submitted in separate files. This can be done in Step 2 "Upload Submission". Diagrams, graphics and tables of the particular format must be saved in a graphic format (possible file extensions are .ai, .eps, .wmf or .cdr), or should be sent as original data (e.g., Microsoft Excel). Possible formats for photographs are TIFF or JPEG (i.e., .tif or .jpg). All figures must have at least 300 dpi at desired size. Line drawings such as logos or graphs must have at least 900 dpi at the desired at desired size.
  • Papers for the Research and Forum sections enclose a list of keywords (to be entered in the "Keywords" field in Step 3 "Enter Metadata").
  • Papers for the Research section require an abstract (max. 1,100 characters including spaces or 180 words). Abstracts can be entered in the "Abstract" field in Step 3 "Enter Metadata".
  • The submission includes a short CV for each of the authors (i.e., first name, surname, university education, professional career, main field(s) of interest). Author CVs can be entered in the "Bio statement" field of each contributor in section "List of Contributors" in Step 3 "Enter Metadata".
  • The number of references should not exceed 40 (80 for review papers).
  • The number of footnotes should not exceed ten.
  • The submission includes a photograph (TIFF or JPEG format with a resolution of at least 300 dpi) for each author as a separate data file. Author photographs can be uploaded in Step 2 "Upload Submission".
  • Quotations follow the Author-Date System of the Chicago Manual of Style (, see also Author Guidelines).
  • The authors will enclose a cover letter explaining their intention to publish the paper in GAIA. The letter can be entered into the field "Comments for the Editor" below, or uploaded as a separate file.

Author Guidelines

Please follow the author guidelines to prepare your article.
The Guide for Authors is also available for download as >pdf.
GAIA article template (.docx) for >download.
Author declaration form (.docx) for >download.




In the Forum section, original papers are published including essays, pointed expressions of opinion and reactions to articles that have appeared in recent GAIA issues.
As such, the Forum aims to challenge current understandings by providing a “forum” to articulate substantiated opinions and controversial issues, to identify new problems, and to establish actual contexts.
Articles – including references – should not exceed the length of 24,000 characters (including spaces).

Generally, articles are double-blind peer reviewed.
Review criteria for Forum papers:
1. Factual statements need to be scientifically proven: All factual statements, propositions, and analytical causal relations that are mentioned in the manuscript need to be scientifically proven. However, ideas, concepts, and relationships may be unusual and innovative.
2. Articles need to be up to date and relate to current problems: The article should relate to a current debate in science (but then relate to an action that will follow from it) or to politics.
3. Logical coherence, consistency, accountability, linguistic and stylistic quality: The article needs to justify poignant opinions, questions, or conclusions. Those justifications should be easy to follow, logical, and fair towards arguments that contradict the statements. Achieving this also largely depends on the style and linguistic standard of the article.
4. Clear statements with a provocative or inquisitive character: The Forum aims to encourage a deeper reflection on a subject, and aims to motivate readers to react and respond to the articles. Frequently, we deliberately try to find articles that give pros and cons. The ideal article is an article that has a provocative message, that is based on good science, and that explains its argumentation in a way that is easy to follow.


The Research section of GAIA contains three categories of texts:

  1. Original scientific articles of environmental and sustainability research. Research papers should not – including ref­erences – exceed the length of 32,000 char­acters (including spaces).
  2. Review articles that place environmental problems and development in a broader context. General review papers are usually written upon invitation and in agreement with the editorial office. Authors who wish to submit review papers on their own initiative are advised to contact the editorial office in advance. Review papers should not – including ref­erences – exceed the length of 40,000 char­acters (including spaces).
  3. Design Reports which focus on the configuration of inter- and transdisciplinary research projects in terms of their research and communication design. Design Reports discuss the underlying reasoning for the project design and critically present the design principles. Design Reports are a GAIA-specific format. Design Reports should not – including ref­erences – exceed the length of 25,000 char­acters (including spaces).

All articles are subjected to a double-blind peer review and cross-read by at least one person foreign to the subject.

Expert opinions are based on

  • the article’s scientific quality (e.g., theory, methods, literature relevant to the subject),
  • the quality of presentation (e.g., length, conciseness, style),
  • the novelty of empirical data, methods, theoretical analyses, interpretation and approaches to problem-solving,
  • the article’s relevance for environmental sciences.

The non-expert reviewer will evaluate the transdisciplinarity of the synthesis, relevance in terms of action and comprehensibility of the manuscript.

Additionally to the criteria listed above, the reviewers of Design Reports are asked to evaluate the presentation and discussion of the project's research design and communication design as well as their critical reflection, and whether the Design Report advances the knowledge of setting-up and implementing inter-/transdisciplinary projects.

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Data protection information for authors: oekom processes and stores your data (name, address, e-mail, phone number) to publish and manage the master data of your article. Upon publication we will transfer your data to our sales partners (Verlegerdienst München and ingentaconnect) and if necessary to a printing company. We will not transfer your data to third countries. You have the right to request information on how your data is processed, a right to rectification of your data, to erasure (“right to be forgotten”), to have the processing restricted, to object to the processing, a right to data portability, as well as a right to revoke your consent. To revoke your consent, please send us an email to In addition you have a right to complain to the supervisory authority. Our data protection officer can be reached via Our detailed data protection information can be found at (in German).